Tougher penalties for motorists

For the first time examiners from the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) will have the power to impose tough penalties on drivers of heavy goods vehicles who commit traffic offences.

Those on the road who break the law, including foreign hauliers as well as those from the UK, could be issued with a fixed penalty notice by VOSA examiners.

Meanwhile, police will be able to collect on-the-spot fines from offenders who cannot provide a satisfactory UK address.

Where driving hours, weight or vehicle safety rules have been broken, VOSA examiners will also have the power to immobilise vehicles.

Jim Fitzpatrick, road safety minister, said that the only way for drivers to avoid the penalties is to obey the rules.

"We want to keep our roads as safe as possible and these tough new measures mean that any driver who breaks the rules of the road - putting themselves and others at risk - will have to face the consequences," he said.

Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, added that the schemes will help law enforcement agencies be more effective in dealing with non-UK residents who commit driving offences as well as drivers committing commercial vehicle offences.

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